Dan Allen is a practicing artist, educator, curator, writer and critic. As an educator Allen has worked at a number of higher education institutions with experience as an External Examiner in UK and Ireland and currently holds the post as External Expert for Art and Design at the University of Wales.
Founding Director of Fireworks Clay Studios in Cardiff, Dan has experience of running a successful artist co-operative and has represented the Arts Council and Crafts Council at a number of international conferences and symposiums. His experience at Fireworks Clay Studios stretches into public relations and fundraising; having received successful grants from the Arts Council, Millennium Lottery, Wales Arts International and the Crafts Council UK. During his tenure as Chairman, Allen established an international artist fellowship scheme in collaboration with a number of funding bodies and arts organisations.
As an artist, Dan is most recognised for his figurative ceramics. His work continues to be exhibited internationally. The human figure and what it says about our fragile condition is the major preoccupation of the Dan Allen. Allens figurative odyssey has gone through various phases in the last ten years. With their strong autobiographical undercurrent, his gently humorous, rather lugubrious characters play out some of lifes dramas and dilemmas, alter-egos who represent different aspects of our personality, the situations in which we find ourselves. Variously decorated with transfer imagery and designs, or more simply with poured slips that accentuate their free surface finish, these figures, alert and intent, are seen in isolation or in more complex tableaus. Allens parallel preoccupation with the chair, often in interaction with the figure, is another form of human presence. He treats it as a surrogate, an extension of ourselves. Allens beings, fixedly staring (at an object of desire, at us, into space) seem to be waiting, but for what? Their atmosphere is silently charged, like the long pregnant pauses in a Samuel Beckett play. Pride, temptation, masculinity, self-doubt, achievement such aspects are treated in touching pathos.
David Whiting 2006